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Nike Superfly 9 Academy

Dean Ariola

The Superfly Academy is a cheaper option for the Mercurial Superfly compared to the Elite version worn by pros like Ronaldo, Sancho and Mbappe, but it still has lots to offer the amateur player who wants to wear a cheaper boot that looks the same as their idols.




Cheap Superfly Academy

  1. Technically not the entry-level takedown but delivers the bare minimum for a functional pair of Superfly boots  
  2. Costs £85
  3. Has the Academy-exclusive multi-ground tooling that combines the tri-star studs with conicals, lessening the cling of the traction on synthetic pitches; still has Zoom Airbag on the heel
  4. Tries to replicate the benefits of the Elite’s synthetic upper with the meshed Nikeskin material
  5. Less premium knit tongue and collar allows for a cleaner wrap around the foot relative to the standard-tongue construction of the Vapor
  6. Finally, a value-for-money Mercurials given its replication of the snug, form-fitting wrap on your foot on top of the solid quality of the upper material
  7. Indistinguishable from the Vapor 15 apart from the tongue and collar
  8. Speedcase more of an embossed pattern rather than an actual structural frame
  9. Available in kids sizes; true-to-size when choosing for adults

Your Academy Superfly 9 Soleplates

MG – The budget Mercurial that is exclusively outfitted with a tooling adaptable to both natural and synthetic pitches

SG-AC – One of the most advanced soft ground soleplate for an Academy boot

IC – For use on the street, court and indoor surfaces 

TF – Designed for extremely short artificial grass

Academy Mercurial Superfly Reviewed:

Cheap Superfly 9 Academy Review - Nike Mercurial

A reduced price option for the Mercurial Superfly compared to the Elite as worn by professionals, these may be cheap but will suit amateurs and social players and is one of the most sold boots on the market, especially good for kids.

Product SKU: DJ5625

Product Brand: Nike

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

✔️ Pros
  • Nikeskin upper is back!
  • Cleaner wrap on the foot relative to the Vapor
  • MG-exclusive to Academy
  • Mercurialesque shape and fit a value-for-money plus point
❌ Cons
  • Can save more by going with the Vapor as upper, soleplate, and Zoom airbag are the same
  • Speedcase more of an embossed texturing
  • Amount of Zoom Air unit is negligible

With the Nikeskin upper and the small amount of Zoom Air retained, the Mercurial Superfly Academy compels a significant value proposition that is usually accorded to the Tiempo Academy.

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Takeaways from SR4U’s Vapor 15 Academy Review (remember that only difference between the Superfly and Vapor is the collar):

  • 2022 Air Zoom Mercurial Academy ends the trend of Academy Mercs feeling completely different from the Elite ones
  • Nikeskin mesh upper leaps and bounds better than anything we’ve seen in past budget Mercurials; with small structural support from the minimised Speedcase
  • Has a firmer feel and a little bit stiff out-of-the-box; once broken-in, the pliability works well with the more structured and grippy upper, not to mention that the lack of padding gives it a raw direct barefoot ball sensation
  • With the laces tied tight, the latest Academy gives a hint of that signature Mercurial tightness as well as responsiveness
  • Zoom air unit on the heel not much noticeable, unless you forcefully land on your heel
  • No complaints on the flexibility of the soleplate; MG stud configuration might even work better than the aggressive pure FG depending on the surface; still best to consider AG-specific boots for synthetic pitches
  • Noticeably gained weight relative to the previous Academy
  • Fit and feel is now more snug and streamlined like the Elite; might be interpreted as uncomfortable at first if you’ve worn the past Academy Superflys; once broken-in the current Academy benefits greatly in performance while becoming more comfortable
  • True-to-size; might not be a good option any more to wide feet
  • Really happy with the changes; blows the old Academy out of the water; personally still prefers the Tiempo Academy personally but new budget Mercurials offer almost the same takedown satisfaction 

Superfly Academy FAQ:

  • Are Superfly Academy good for wide feet?

Because of the more structured feel of the Nikeskin and the Elite-like shape and fit, the Superfly Academy might be a challenge for wide feet players. 

Yes, you can get a Kids (Nike Jr.) version of the Superfly Academy. Interestingly, the Nike Jr. Superfly 9 is the brand’s first-ever laceless boot, pitting the Mercurial directly against the laceless offerings of adidas to the young ones. 

The fit is perfect lengthwise for the Superfly Academy, so be sure to go true-to-size. Consider sizing up if you have classify as having wide feet.

The MG has shorter studs and replaces some of the tristars with conicals, making it safer to play in synthetic pitches than the full-fledged blades and aggressive traction of the Elite Superfly FG.

The Superfly Academy feels a bit more premium than that of the Phantom GT because of the meshed Nikeskin upper that loosely resembled that from the OG Hypervenoms. Including the trademark snug fit, this makes the Superfly Academy offer the same value-for-money experience in terms of bringing as much Mercurial experience as it can at this price point, like how the Tiempo Academy does in replicating the leather feel of the Tiempo Legend Elite. 

Superfly 9 vs Superfly 8 Academy

The neoprene collar is the same, therefore causing both boots to have a cleaner wrap on your foot.

Good thing for the Superfly 9 Academy that a small portion of the zoom air is retained on its heel, while the Superfly 8 was left to just a functional soleplate without anatomic shaping. How much bounce the tech gives is subject to further discussion

Nikeskin upper of the Superfly 9 feels more balanced in structure and flexibility than the moulded synthetic of the previous generation. It further gives a performance benefit given the more streamlined fit and shape of the latest Academy (first Mercurial academy to resemble the fitting profile of the top-end model). Superfly 9 sacrifices a bit of comfort and break-in period in favour of fit and function optimisation. 

Superfly 9 Academy gets a fuller conical stud layout unlike the half-moon shaped studs on the 8. Still pretty decent for a multiground tooling.

Cheapest Superfly 9: Club

The Club is the most basic model you can get for the Superfly (and Nike boots in general). It has always used a basic moulded synthetic upper that is relatively bulkier and stiffer than the upper materials used for the models above it.

Specifically for the Superfly 9, the takedown has an angled ribbed embossed texturing to loosely replicate the chevron-patterned texture on the Vaporposite+. The knitted collar lacks the amount of tension needed to form closely around the ankle.

Outsole-wise, the full-length soleplate does not house the highlight ‘Zoom Air’ feature of the current generation, and carries over the chevron-half conical stud combination of the previous generation. 

Club vs Academy Superfly

All things considered, the use of the Nikeskin for the upper, the fit and feel, and the inclusion of the Zoom Air unit (albeit in a significantly smaller scale) makes the Superfly 9 Academy much more worth it as an Mercurial entry boot rather the Club. It’s best to limit your purchase of the Club for the young ones. Better spend cheaply on their boots especially if they are on the stage where they outgrow their boots much faster than expected. 

Academy 8 Review

The previous Superfly Academy generation had a synthetic upper that arguably lags behind a bit from the Nikeskin upper of the Superfly 9 in terms of responsiveness. That is because the pliability isn’t streamlined; toe box is soft and flexible whereas the midfoot is made stiffer and relatively bulkier in order to hold structure. It does try to implement the texturing of the top-end Vaporposite upper through the embossed grid pattern, but the scale and level of grip are very minimal.

Typical of a Superfly at this model, the fit and shape is more relaxed and rounded, respectively. Its tooling featured a flat outsole with a functional flexibility (not snappy like the Aerotrak of the Superfly VIII Elite but above-average for a soleplate at this price point).  At least for the 8th generation, Academy Superfly has an advantage over the Academy Vapor-the knitted tongue and collar, plus the fit on the heel, allows for a cleaner wrap around the foot, unlike the creases you can see with the Vapor Academy.

Academy 7 Reviewed

Moving back a generation further, the Superfly Academy used to have a more plasticky and rigid type of synthetic upper. The heel might had been an issue for some given that it feels like a low-cut with the collar simply added on top. Safe to say that Nike was able to address this issue in the succeeding Superfly Academies. It pioneered the inclusion of the crescent-shaped studs that can also be seen today with the Superfly 9 Club. Regarding the fit, the Academy Superfly 7 arguably had a more snug, tighter fit than the next generations.


Dean Ariola

Dean has worked Chief writer at the Black & Orange team since 2020, he has an indepth knowledge of all the soccer shoes from the big brands, you have him to thank for all the updates to our Boot Secrets guide and he is first on the scene with all the new releases for you!